Woman jailed for stealing $116,000 from Mission RCMP

April Smith of Maple Ridge was sentenced Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster

A woman who stole $116,000 from the exhibit room of the Mission RCMP detachment over a four-year period betrayed the trust of her co-workers and the public and should serve jail time, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled Tuesday in New Westminster.

Justice Lance Bernard sentenced former District of Mission employee April Kirsten Smith, 46, to 18 months in prison to be followed by two years of probation.

Bernard said he didn’t believe that Smith’s gambling addiction, which was cited as the reason for the thefts, constituted “extreme personal mitigating circumstances,” as her lawyer had previously argued in recommending she receive a conditional sentence (house arrest).

Bernard said Smith’s actions could best be defined as a “behavioural disorder” rather than a mental one.

Smith, a Maple Ridge resident, was arrested and charged in February 2014 with breach of trust, theft over $5,000 and a public servant refusing to deliver property.

She pleaded guilty to the breach offence five months later, and the other two charges were stayed.

Smith worked as the main exhibit custodian for the Mission RCMP from August 2008 until the money was discovered missing in January 2013.

She was in charge of taking items – such as cash, weapons and drugs – that had been seized by police, transferring them from a temporary locker and logging the items.

She would also track the items until they were no longer needed.

This enabled Smith to change records, or not log the items at all, as she removed cash from the exhibits.

The tip-off came during a routine audit on Jan. 15, 2013, when an investigator was checking a file on an exhibit recorded as containing $14,000.

The file indicated the money was in the safe, and she asked Smith to see it.

Smith did not produce the exhibit, and when the investigator again looked at the record, the details had been changed, indicating the funds had been forfeited to the receiver-general.

Further checks revealed the receiver-general had not received the $14,000, and the envelope that should have contained the money had only a crumpled $50 bill.

Smith, who had gone through previous audits without suspicion, was suspended, and an investigation was launched.

Of the 133 files that were examined, 99 had been compromised and 89 were missing cash in amounts of $100 or more.

Bernard said because Smith initially denied having a role in the thefts, many officers and civilian employees were placed under scrutiny during the investigation, and this affected morale.

He read excerpts from victim impact statements from four of Smith’s former co-workers, who all said they felt betrayed and angered by her actions.

“Congratulations. I hope it was worth the ride,” said one.

Smith, who now works as a swimming instructor, eventually admitted to having taken the funds to fuel a gambling addiction, through which she estimates losing approximately $600,000 over the years. She remortgaged her home, maxed out her credit cards and borrowed money from her parents, the court heard.

Her lawyer said it had been Smith’s intention to pay back the stolen money with her winnings.

The court heard that since her arrest, Smith has attended 22 counselling sessions to address her addiction, and she has not gambled since.

Bernard said he took this into consideration, along with Smith’s “sincere remorse” and her desire to pay back the funds, but he felt a jail term was necessary.

“She showed reckless disregard for the justice system as a whole when she was stealing money,” he said.

Terms of Smith’s probation include continued counselling to address her addiction, not attending casinos or gambling online, and not contacting her former co-workers without the written permission of her probation officer.

She has also been ordered to pay back the stolen $116,000 to the Mission RCMP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

UPDATE/VIDEO: Heavy police presence after body found in Maple Ridge

Body was discovered beneath the Golden Ears Bridge

On Cooking: Yes, I eat meat

I recognize the fact that we as people are not all the same.

VIDEO: Firefighters on scene at Mission house blaze

Flames can be seen rising from roof of home on Lightbody Crescent

Sports announced for Maple Ridge 2020 BC Summer Games

18 events will attract almost 3000 young athletes

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

Mountie left with ‘significant’ injuries after driver attempts to flee traffic stop

Richmond RCMP are looking for a dark coloured Mercedes Benz

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read